EBR Parish coroner’s office already investigating over 20 overdose deaths for 2023
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The opioid addiction and overdose crisis touches every state in the nation, but Louisiana is affected the hardest.
East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. Beau Clark says all indicators whether it is addiction to opioid medications, overdose deaths, emergency room admissions and over-prescribing are evidence of the problem.
“I would like to say we are at the top and coming down but it does not appear that way,” Clark adds.
Though the pandemic may have intensified the state’s drug problem, it did not create it. Drug abuse has plagued Louisiana for years and opioids have played a major role, leading to countless deaths.
In East Baton Rouge parish alone, the coroner’s office investigated nearly 300 overdose deaths in 2022.
Of all overdose deaths in 2021, 93% were due to some type of opioid, 88% were linked to Fentanyl.
“The fact we transition from Heroin environment to a Fentanyl environment then Fentanyl environment with it being in other drugs. You often wonder, what’s next,” Clark explained.
Fentanyl is reportedly the leading cause of drug overdoses. It is a synthetic opioid that is at least 50 to 100 times more potent than Morphine.
“We’re finding marijuana is becoming laced with Fentanyl. We know that can lead to overdose and death,” Clark continued.
To curb an ongoing crisis, Dr. Clark says it will take a multifaceted approach.
He says it will require healthcare officials and legal analysts to change the state’s future when it comes to the opioid crisis.
“We need an environment where bad guys who sell drugs meet consequences. Those consequences save lives,” says Clark.
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